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Archbishop of Tuam issues unreserved apology to victims of mother and baby homes

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The Archbishop of Tuam said the contents of the mother and baby home report are a cause for “shame”.

Michael Neary said the Church was intended to bring “hope and healing”, but it brought “harm and hurt” for many women and children.

He added: “Many were left broken, betrayed and disillusioned.

“For them, and all of us, these revelations seriously tarnished the image of the Church.”

He said the joy which is associated with the birth of a new baby was “clouded with darkness and gloom”.

“This was a time when single, pregnant women and their children were labelled as ‘unmarried mothers’ and ‘illegitimate’, and then judged, stigmatised and ostracised by their own families, by their communities, and the Church,” the Archbishop added.

 

He said this was wrong and very sad.

He added that the Church failed in its responsibility to love and cherish those who were diminished.

“What this report makes clear to me is that when the Church is not serving with compassion, it is failing. For that I am genuinely sorry,” he added.

“As a Church leader, I apologise unreservedly.”

The Tuam Home was owned by Galway County Council and operated by the Bon Secours Sisters.

Archbishop Neary said that everything in the Diocesan archives relating to the home has been shared with the commission, but added that the archive does not hold any information relating to the living conditions.

He said its archives do not give any insight into the “helplessness and suffering” of the mothers who were separated from their children.

The site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother and baby home (Niall Carson/PA)

He added that he was “horrified” to learn of the discovery of human remains at the Tuam site through the commission’s interim report in March 2017.

“These discoveries underline the enormous suffering and pain for the little ones and their mothers,” he said.

He added: “Furthermore, the disparity which continues to exist between the Register of Deaths, and the absence of burial location records, is a critical aspect of this sad story which remains unreconciled. This disparity is a matter of great public concern.

Ireland

‘We did not live up to our Christianity’: Nuns apo…

“The burial pattern in the home in Tuam, more than any other single occurrence, has, understandably, caused the most outrage.

“While the report makes for difficult reading, every step towards uncovering the complete truth regarding the burial pattern is welcome.

“In this way, as a society, we can take appropriate steps to heal the wounds caused, and we will be enabled to move forward together.”

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Ireland

Man released without charge after seizure of gun and cannabis worth €2,000

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A man has been released without charge in Cork, after the seizure of a suspected gun and €2,000 worth of cannabis.

The discovery was made yesterday at around 5pm after the search of a home in the Cloyne area.

A man in his 30s was arrested at the scene and taken to Middleton Garda Station.

He has since been released without charge and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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Ireland

Children may not return to school until close to Easter

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Most children will not be back in school next month and may not return to the classroom until close to Easter, according to Government sources.

The Government’s Cabinet committee on Covid-19 is due to receive fresh guidance over the reopening schools from public health experts ahead of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

As the Irish Times reports, while a full return to school is unlikely until mid to late March, sources say there remains a determination to reopen special education as a priority in February if virus transmission rates continue to fall.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said at the weekend that he believed schools will most likely reopen in a phased way, but not all students would be back at school by St Patrick’s Day.

Meanwhile, talks over contingency plans for the Leaving Cert are to intensify this week amid growing expectation that a formal decision on the future of the exams will be made shortly.

The Department of Education is due to meet with secondary education partners to discuss “further possible options” for the exams.

Leaving Cert

A spokesman for the Minister declined to comment on when a decision over the future of the Leaving Cert will be made beyond stating that the situation was “fluid”.

The Government is coming under pressure from opposition parties to clarify its plans for the Leaving Cert.

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly TD said he expects the exams will now be cancelled and has called for a decision to be made by February 1st.

Up until recently, Minister for Education Norma Foley said it was the Government’s firm intention to press ahead with a “traditional” Leaving Cert.

However, the continued closure of schools means this will be challenging given looming deadlines for oral and practical exams and concern over inequality of access to education.

Last year, the written Leaving Cert exams in June were cancelled and replaced by a system of calculated grades, which involved teachers assessing their own students.

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More transparency needed around frontline workers yet to be vaccinated, says IMO

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Consultant Matthew Sadlier of the Irish Medical Organisation has called for greater transparency about who has had the Covid-19 vaccine and how many frontline workers have yet to be vaccinated.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Dr Sadlier said the issue was about trying to protect patients, vaccinating frontline workers would mean that hospitals could stay open.

At present there were 6,000 frontline workers off work because of Covid issues and it was not acceptable that there was not a plan for frontline workers to be vaccinated as soon as possible, he said.

With 2,000 Covid patients in hospitals at present, every ward was a Covid ward, he said. The concept that some wards were not Covid wards was not accurate as everyone was at risk.

Definitive list

There should be a “definitive list” for every hospital for vaccinations for frontline staff, he said. Dr Sadlier said he had some sympathy for the HSE because it was obvious there was a shortfall.

Protecting staff was important as it meant protecting patients so there needed to be transparency about where the vaccine would be going now. “Who is left to be vaccinated and how they are going to manage it going forward.”

When asked about the vaccination programme in the UK where the date for the second vaccine has been postponed for up to 12 weeks, Dr Sadlier said he thought it would be “a very high risk thing to do.”

On the issue of PPE, he said high grade masks needed to be guaranteed and available to all staff – not after risk assessment as was the situation at present. “All staff are at high risk.”

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